Daniel Suarez’s Win at Atlanta Keeps Him off Hot Seat at Trackhouse Racing

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

  • Going into the 2024 season, Atlanta winner Daniel Suarez possessed only one career NASCAR Cup victory.
  • Suarez was winless in 2023 with only three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and 2024 was a contract year.
  • While outsiders may have considered Suarez’s No. 99 ride in jeopardy, that apparently was only a supposition, says team owner Justin Marks.

Entering the 2024 NASCAR Cup season many believed Daniel Suarez was on the hot seat at Trackhouse Racing.

Afterall, the 32-year-old Suarez possessed only one Cup victory, he was winless in 2023 with only three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and 2024 was a contract year.

Coupled with Trackhouse signing 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith to run a Cup car out of Spire Motorsports and Shane Van Gisbergen to run a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series season with Kaulig Racing, both this year, as well as the team keeping its Project91 alive, it would be easy to make that assumption that Suarez wasn’t necessarily a lock for a ride in 2025.

However, team owner Justin Marks said after Suarez’s third closest victory in NASCAR Cup history at Atlanta Motor Speedway, that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t envision, necessarily, a situation where Daniel is not a driver for Trackhouse Racing,” Marks says. “There’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes, and this is why we made a change at crew chief. This is why we made a change with some of the people around him and the processes to put him in a position where he can win.

nascar cup series ambetter health 400

Todd Kirkland//Getty Images

Daniel Suarez got a well-earned checkered flag at Atlanta.

“Daniel is my guy. He’s got incredible talent. He’s a guy that just needs good people around him and a good process around him, and he can be very successful.”

Unlike the other Cup team owners, Marks wears an owner’s and a driver’s hat simultaneously, occasionally racing in the Trans Am Series. He brings a different perspective to team ownership, leading the transition from the sport’s current powerhouses to the next generation. It’s reminiscent of when Richard Childress Racing led the new generation of team owners, replacing Junior Johnson as the powerhouse in the Chevrolet camp while Rick Hendrick built his organization.

“We’re in an era of the sport where … this is about the people and the culture, and really trying to build a tight-knit team because we don’t have the funding and we don’t necessarily have all the engineering resources that some of the big teams do,” Marks says. “We really have to band together and work hard together.”

So, while outsiders may have considered Suarez’s No. 99 ride in jeopardy, that apparently was only a supposition. Suarez was Trackhouse’s fourth employee. And Marks believes it’s his company’s responsibility to provide Suarez with the tools, resources and support he needs to do his job. He views Suarez’s 0.003-second victory as “validation” of the work the team did during the off-season. Perhaps the most notable was Suarez’s crew chief change. Travis Mack, who had served in that position since Suarez joined Trackhouse in 2021, moved to Kaulig Racing, while Matt Swiderski left Kaulig to assume Mack’s crew chief duties at Trackhouse. “

Marks admits there were “tough moments” and “very focused conversations” last year and during the off-season on how to improve for 2024.

“It’s not an emotional thing, it’s a pragmatic thing,” Marks says. “What’s important to Trackhouse is humility, hard work, selflessness and passion and desire.”

So, the talk of Suarez being on the hot seat is no longer valid because he has qualified for the Cup playoffs at a track where the playoffs begin in September.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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